The Baltic countries hope to hear from Washington’s commitments to their security
US relations with NATO allies this week will again be the center of attention in connection with the Baltic summit at the White house on Tuesday.
According to a White house statement, U.S. President Donald trump, the President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid, the President of Latvia Raimonds Vejonis and Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite will discuss the strengthening of cooperation in security, business, trade, energy and culture.
According to the administration, special attention will be paid to the fact that the Baltic States recently reached the target of NATO’s defense spending.
President trump has repeatedly criticized NATO for what they contribute enough to the financing of the Alliance and do not allocate 2 percent of its GDP on defense. Speaking to members of the Alliance in the past year, it stressed the US commitment to article 5 collective self-defence, unsettling allies.
Since then, as in 2014 Russia annexed Crimea, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania anxiously watching the build-up of Russian military power in the region, fearing that they may suffer the same fate as the Crimea.
All three countries have pledged to increase their defense spending, relying on the help of allies in the event of any action on the part of Russia.
As stated last week, told Latvian television, Latvian President Raymons Vejonis, he expects that Washington publicly reaffirm its commitment to the security of the region. “It is planned to adopt a Declaration, which we expect will contain a very strong political message from the United States, expressing support for the strengthening of the security of the Baltic States and confirmation of support for the independence of the Baltic States”, – he said.
Baltic summit to be held amid worsening tensions between Russia and the West.
Last week, the United States and over 20 other countries, including the Baltic States, sent a total of more than 150 Russian diplomats in solidarity with Britain against the background of the poisoning of former Russian spy in Salisbury. Meanwhile, Russia announced the expulsion of more than 150 foreign diplomats, including U.S. 60.
USA and the Baltic States also accused Russia of cyber attacks and spreading false news, propaganda and disinformation in the Internet in an attempt to intervene in the political systems of European countries and to influence public opinion in favor of Moscow. American intelligence has concluded that Russia interfered in the presidential elections in 2016 and taking steps to intervene in the upcoming midterm elections.
As stated by the Minister of foreign Affairs of Latvia Edgars rinkēvičs in a recent interview with the Russian service “voice of America” for the past three or four years the community of democratic States is under attack. According to him, the very basis of democratic institutions is being attacked by the false news, as well as through financial influence, so in this situation it is very important to stick together.
On Friday, Russia tested a new Intercontinental ballistic missile “Sarmat”. The Ministry of defence of Latvia on Thursday expressed concern over the unexpected statement of fact that 4 and 6 April plans to conduct missile tests in the Baltic sea, between Latvia and Sweden.
Last month President trump congratulated Russian leader Vladimir Putin on his re-election, noting that they agreed to hold negotiations “in the not so distant future.”
Press Secretary of the White house Sarah Huckabee Sanders said they discussed the possibility of holding such meetings in different places, including in the White house.